Skip to Content

Altering Sewing Patterns – Shorts Length

Posted on Last updated: /

So, you’ve found a nice shorts sewing pattern that you are dying to sew, but….. the length just doesn’t seem right, too short? too long? Here is the altering sewing pattern tutorial to show you how to alter the length of the shorts in 3 simple steps.

how to alter sewing pattern
If you haven’t found one decent pattern yet, probably you can try these boxer shorts or weekender shorts

Shortening is easy, just cut away the extra to shorten it. We can do it even after the shorts are sewn or on the one, you bought from the shop. Lengthening is a little tricky if you don’t have extra on the hem’s seam. Anyway, who can find enough length on the hem seam? The most you can lengthen is 1/2″. Provided you want to add another piece of fabric to lengthen it and make it look a little weird with the “pasting”. The best way is to do it during the paper stage. Measure the length that you want for the shorts, if the pattern doesn’t have enough length, then lengthen it on the paper before cutting the fabric.

The brown-blue gingham on top is modified from the weekender shorts but without full lining, just in case you are interested. I pasted the separate hems to the shorts on the pattern and lengthen it another 1 1/2″ for my husband. The bottom piece is the original length.

Altering Sewing Pattern – Shorts Length

altering sewing pattern for shots length

Get your shorts patterns ready on paper, don’t cut them out yet if you want to lengthen it.
If you have cut them out, paste a piece of paper under the inseam and another under the hem.



altering sewing pattern for shots length

Depends how much you want to lengthen, let say 2″ for example. On the front pattern,
1. Draw a straight vertical line from the lowest corner side seam of the original pattern. {Pink line}
2. Move the hemline down to the new finish length, same width. {Blue line}
3. Draw a new extended inseam line starts from the crotch point to the new finish hem. {Orange line}

altering sewing pattern for shots length

Repeat the lengthening step on the back pattern.
Fold the paper to get the front and back pattern closer, check both inseam’s length and the curvature of the center seam of the crotch curve.

Lengthen shorts

The new lengthened pattern [in pink shading].



Shorten shorts

Depends how much you want to shorten, let say 3″. Measure and mark the new length from the original hem. Draw the new shortened hemline. {Green line}

check inseam

Repeat the shortening step on the back pattern.
Fold the paper to get the front and back pattern closer, check inseam’s length.

shorts shortened

The new shortened pattern [in green shading].


Follow Craft Passion's Network:

Rosemarie F Mackay

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Thank you for this tutorial. I will be starting my project on shorts for my grandchild. I like your free pattern, it so easy to follow.


Thursday 8th of January 2015

would love to get the shorts pattern please for children as i am making clothes (any that i can get patterns for ) to donate to the hospital to help the kids thankyou

Craft Passion

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Hi Helene, I have answered your question in your comment on another page. The pattern page is usually on page 2, if you refer to the link at the browser, it is ended with “/2″, then search for the pdf document to download the free pattern. Happy sewing :)

Lystra James

Saturday 1st of June 2013

thank you for your shorts pattern it is a very easy to follow step to step tutorial is there any way I can get the actual paper pattern send to me, I am doing some costume for a kids parade band so that boxer short pattern and if you have a skirt pattern as well will also help me I like the way it was explain by using the color name in the pattern which makes it easy to follow thank you again my mailing address is 9602 Farragut Rd Brooklyn NY 11236 phone # 917-627-1904

Anne Weaver

Sunday 6th of March 2011

Thank you for sharing this information! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing: --anne